• CAFTA Passes

    CAFTA just passed , 217-215. 15 Democrats voted with the bad guys, while 20 Republicans joined the angels. A few things: • Odds are this wasn't really a tied vote. David Sirota is telling us to think of each dissenting Dem as the deciding defection, but it's more likely that the Republicans had a few more last-case yes's who were allowed to vote no so long as their "aye" wasn't needed to pass the bill. If DeLay can pass the bill while exempting weak Republicans in trade-decimated areas, all the better. • Nevertheless, screw those Democrats who defected. • This is, even with passage, a sign of serious weakness for the right. That a run-of-the-mill trade bill cleared with a mere single vote despite the easy Republican majority shows how much weaker party discipline has become in their caucus. That it passed with only 15 Democratic defections is a sign of how much stronger our caucus unity has gotten. • It also proves Sam's argument that the right consciously crafts bills that won't...
  • Elections Have Consequences

    Jonah Goldberg's latest column is, well, kinda good. Very good, in fact. He takes as target Arnold Schwarzenegger and, as background, Gray Davis. And while his ultimate point is to slap around us kooky Californians, he's actually right about doing so: I was against the recall on the grounds that the people of California elected Gray Davis and therefore they deserved to be punished. Seriously. Democracy isn’t merely about “the people” getting what they want, it’s also about the people getting what they deserve. Mobs get what they want every time. Citizens make informed choices and then live with — and learn from — the consequences. Those lessons inform how we view not merely candidates but parties and philosophies. “We gave those guys their shot and they blew it, I won’t be voting for that crowd again,” is an indispensable reaction in democratic politics. ... I’m sympathetic to the substance of Schwarzenegger’s agenda. But the last thing California needs is more populism. What it needs...
  • Random Things

    • I think Jeff Gannon is reading my blog. How else do you getting a hit from this search ? • Richard Blair is doing great work to try and get the oh-so-liberal media to cover a young, pregnant woman who's been missing for nine days. Should be easy, right? What if I told you she was black? Go help out -- if the so-called liberal media won't get on it, at least actual liberals can pitch in.
  • From MK to GTA

    Kevin Drum asks (and answers): What effect has the videogame "Grand Theft Auto" had on actual thefts of autos? "The national carjacking rate has dropped substantially," reports Steven Johnson in the LA Times today. ... It strikes me as a bit degrading, actually, that Hillary has to pretend to oppose violent videogames as a means of gaining heartland social values cred, but I suppose that's the world we live in. If I were running for president I might do the same. And I guess the upside is that a few speeches denouncing the evils of "Grand Theft Auto" is unlikely to do any real damage. True 'nuff. But then, what effect will Hillary Clinton denouncing GTA have on "Grand Theft Auto"? My hunch is none whatsoever. Indeed, it may create an uptick in sales thanks to the added publicity. That's why I can never get bent out of shape about this stuff. If parents wary of a violent, sexualized culture want politicians to recognize their fears, then politicians should do that. The denunciations of...
  • A Housing Agenda

    Nathan Newman's got a very strong post on the primacy (or puzzling lack thereof) of housing issues on the progressive agenda. And he's right on it. Employees of all incomes and occupations know how little they like living in zip codes wholly unconnected to their workplaces just so they can afford a roof for their children. The commute, the lack of flexibility, the total disruption of everyday life -- it's crushing. In addition, many of these folks are becoming Republicans, either in reaction to the urban areas that banished them or as simple result of becoming property owners. It shouldn't be that way, and speaking to the everyday hardships of their commute and conditions would, if nothing else, prove Democrats are on their side as much as the city's. Kevin Drum likes to say that the divide isn't red vs. blue, it's urban vs. rural. But it's more than that: it's urban vs. rural/suburban/exurban, it's urban vs. everyone else. Affordable, well-planned, high-density housing that would let...
  • Bad Habit

    It's one thing to have Dan Savage and the liberal intelligentsia mocking you mercilessly, it's wholly another, however, to have nuns writing letters to the editor rhetorically rapping your knuckles for setting a bad example for your children: As a teacher for the Diocese of Pittsburgh for 14 years, one important lesson I learned was that no matter what I said to the child, whatever the parents said superseded my message. What parents say and how they live sends a message stronger than any teacher's voice no matter what the issue. Sen. Rick Santorum and his wife have taught their children a powerful lesson on civic responsibility by refusing to pay any tuition money to the Penn Hills School District for their children who attended the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School ("Penn Hills Loses Bid to Charge Santorum," July 12). Released from that payment on a technicality shows that even an upstanding, moral gentleman like Sen. Santorum teaches his children the following lessons: 1) Take...
  • Asking for Hope

    Jesus. I caught this off a BlogAd at Roxanne's site but...Jesus. If the stem cell debate sometimes seems like just another match-up between right-wing fundamentalists and exasperated, empirical Democrats, this letter will prove to you why it's so much more...
  • DLC'ing It

    As I knocked the DLC this morning, I may as well flip the coin before the day's out. Progressives need to recognize the DLC's essential utility. Our criticism of them is that they criticize us. And in most ways, that's a bad thing. But occasionally, it serves a purpose. It has, for instance, motivated the media to give the DLC a Cloak of Moderation (+5) which, in some contexts, can be good for Democrats wrap themselves in. So when Hillary goes to speak to them and lead their policy project, rejoice. She's not straying on CAFTA, she didn't vote for the bankruptcy bill, and so we needn't worry that her appearance in Ohio is evidence that she's selling out our issues. Nor, so far as I can see, has she in any way disparaged the netroots or attacked liberals, so at the same time she's resisting the DLC's worst policy impulses (or, depending who you talk to, the worst caricatures of their policy impulses), she's also ignoring their taste for internecine warfare.
  • Word.

    Digby is right not only on Paul Hackett, but on the Paul Hackett formula, and you should read him .
  • Populism by the Numbers

    Thinking about populism brought to mind something I've been meaning to write up. Hearing the discussions on Frank's book and being fairly plugged into Democratic talk, I get the feeling that most progressives have the impression that the electorate is primarily poor, that there's a massive number of downtrodden, low-income folk who, if we could just get them to start voting for us, would swing all elections our way. To some degree that's true, if for no other reason than elections are being decided by 3% of the vote. But on a long-term majority level, it's not. In 2004 , only 23% of voters had incomes under $30,000. Now, 23% is nothing to scoff at, but that means over 75% of the electorate is making more than $30,000, and the majority of them are pulling in significantly above that.